Padma Lakshmi serves as host of Bravo's "Top Chef," introducing the challenges to the contestants each week and sitting at the judge's table alongside Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. Lakshmi is known internationally as an actress and award-winning writer. 2006 will be a busy year for Lakshmi with two mini-series, a feature film and a new cookbook being released.
Airing in April, Lakshmi will play Princess Bithia, the Egyptian princess who found the baby Moses in the bulrushes and raised him as her own in ABC's much anticipated mini-series "The Ten Commandments" alongside Naveen Andrews ("Lost"), Omar Sharif and Dougray Scott.
She will also star in BBC America's "Sharpe's Challenge" opposite Sean Bean. This two-part mini-series directed by Tom Clegg is the continuation of the popular BBC series based on Richard Cornwall's novels and will air in October. In it, Lakshmi will play the beautiful Indian courtesan Madhuvanthi who becomes a ruler defending her Rajastani province from Sharpe and the Colonialists. On the big screen, she joins Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott in Paul Mayeda Berges' newest film "Mistress of Spices."
Lakshmi demonstrates her own talent with spices as she publishes her second cookbook. A follow up to her successful book Easy Exotic, it will be a larger endeavor filled with over 150 recipes from around the world and intriguing personal memoirs. The cookbook will be published by Miramax Books in Spring '07.
Lakshmi's previous acting experience has included two Italian films: "Caribbeans" directed by Lamberto Bava and "Sandokan: The Darkness and the Light" directed by Sergio Sollima. In 2001 she played Mariah Carey's diva rival, Sylk, in Fox/Columbia Pictures "Glitter," directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall. She also starred in Kaizad Gustad's "Boom" in 2003.
Her television credits include hosting Rai Television's "Dominica In," a live variety show which became Italy's highest rated program. For The Food Network, she hosted "Padma's Passport" where she cooked diverse low-fat cuisine based on her best selling book Easy Exotic. Lakshmi has also hosted a documentary series called "Planet Food" (broadcast on The Food Network and worldwide Discovery Channel), in which she journeyed to countries such as Spain and India. Padma has also appeared on UPN's "Star Trek: Enterprise."
Lakshmi is also an accomplished writer and the author of Easy Exotic for Miramax Books for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time writer. The book is a low calorie, low fat ethnic cookbook and is currently in its second printing in soft back. She has contributed to such magazines as American Vogue, Gourmet and Harper's Bazaar.
Originally known as the first internationally successful Indian supermodel, Lakshmi started modeling while an exchange student in Spain with Clark University where she received a B.A. in Theater Arts. She was discovered by a modeling agent while sitting in a café and since has appeared in numerous fashion editorials and walked the runway for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Emmanuel Ungaro and Alberta Ferretti and starred in campaigns for Versus and Roberto Cavalli.